November 19, 2018

Neither in Welsh nor in Irish did a word exist for ‘republic’

‘David Lloyd George blessing James Craig’, by Shemus
Kenneth O Morgan in the No 10 guest historian series, 'Prime Ministers and No. 10', wrote:
"He held a series of talks with the Sinn Fein leader, Eamon De Valera, at Downing Street in July 1921, at which key issues in Ireland’s proposed new relationship with the UK, were discussed. Lloyd George, who made a point of speaking in Welsh to his Secretary, Thomas Jones, in the presence of De Valera, successfully argued that neither in Welsh nor in Irish did a word exist for ‘republic’."
From Wikipedia:
"In English, the revolutionary state was to be known as the "Irish Republic". Two different Irish language titles were used: Poblacht na hÉireann and Saorstát Éireann, based on two alternative Irish translations of the word republic. The word "poblacht" was a new word, coined by the writers of the Easter Proclamation in 1916. Saorstát was a compound word, based on the Irish words saor ("free") and stát ("state"). Its literal translation was "free state". The term Poblacht na hÉireann is the one used in the Proclamation of 1916, but the Declaration of Independence and other documents adopted in 1919 used Saorstát Éireann. 
Saorstát Éireann was adopted as the official Irish title of the Irish Free State when it was established at the end of the Irish War of Independence, although this Free State was not a republic but a form of constitutional monarchy within the British Empire. Since then, the word saorstát has fallen out of use as a translation of republic. After the Irish state had changed its name to "Ireland", in 1949 the description of the state was declared "Republic of Ireland", while in Irish it was translated as Poblacht na hÉireann. 
In The Aftermath, Winston Churchill gives an account of the first meeting of Éamon de Valera with David Lloyd George on 14 July 1921, at which he was present. Lloyd George was a native speaker of Welsh and a noted Welsh linguist and as such was interested in the literal meaning of 'Saorstát'. De Valera replied that it meant 'Free State'. Lloyd George asked '... what is your Irish word for Republic?' After some delay and no reply, Lloyd George commented: 'Must we not admit that the Celts never were Republicans and have no native word for such an idea?' 
Lord Longford gives a different account in Peace by Ordeal: "The only doubt in de Valera's mind, as he explained to Lloyd George, arose from the current dispute among Gaelic purists whether the idea Republic was better conveyed by the broader ‘Saorstát’ or the more abstract ‘Poblacht’"."
Michael Collins wrote in Part 6 of his book, ‘The Path to Freedom’:
"The British form of government was monarchical. In order to express clearly our desire to depart from all British forms, we declared a Republic. We repudiated the British form of government, not because it was monarchical, but because it was British. We would have repudiated the claim of a British Republic to rule over us as definitely as we repudiated the claim of the British monarchy. 
Our claim was to govern ourselves, and the expression of the form of government was an answer to the British lie that Ireland was a domestic question. It was a gesture to the world that there could be no confusion about. It was an emphasis of our separate nationhood and a declaration that our ultimate goal was and would continue to be complete independence."
Though Fintan O'Toole wrote:
"Perhaps due to the Civil War, which followed our declaration, the national movement was very divided at the beginning. It had a particularly tough birth and then we basically adopted British institutions and never really went through the process of thinking for ourselves and about what way we wanted to govern ourselves. The political system [in Ireland] pre-dates the state… What happened was we had different people, but we were operating under the same system. The machine is very out-dated and very anti-republican. The whole basis is we as a people, are not entitled to anything. We are told – you are a client for me, the middle man and I will get stuff for you in return for your vote."
William Steel Dickson wrote:
"The difference between a limited monarchy and a well constituted republic is rather in name than reality."
Interestingly, Garrett Fitzgerald wrote in 'Ireland in the World - Further Reflections':
"Arthur Griffiths, the founder of Sinn Fein… Had always been a monarchist and had no time for an Irish Republic."
Eoghan Harris rightly pointed out that the relatives of the 1916 rebels now occupy a position of privilege.

In 2013 writer Dylan Matthews wrote ‘Shut up, royal baby haters. Monarchy is awesome.’

Stephen Fry said:
"Countries that have kings and queens which are rationally stupid, weird ideas, are empirically freer and more socially just than countries that don’t. Consider that. Look at the world now, look at social justice happiness freedom and equality in the world, and you’re thinking Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Benelux countries, and Britain - which does have very high levels of social justice - and Holland and these countries have kings and queens and they had constitutional monarchies. So that’s what I mean by being empirical. I’m not saying therefore you must have a king and queen in order to be free but all I’m saying is you having one doesn’t stop you from being freer from being opener. I mean these are very open societies Denmark and Sweden and annoying particularly open society."

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